Abortion activist Jill Filipovic’s argument is nothing new.
But, as Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels reportedly once said, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.”
Decades ago, abortion activists usurped the feminist movement and began using the veneer to slam pro-life advocates as women-haters. It is not true (as the early feminists would have attested to), but abortion activists continue to repeat it over and over and over again anyway.
In column this week at The Guardian, Filipovic claimed that “what really interests ‘pro-lifers’” is “controlling women.” She pointed to the results of a new Supermajority/PerryUndem survey as proof.
“Pro-lifers are sexists in denial – yes, the women too,” she wrote. “If you don’t want women to be equal, a great way to force that ideal is to strip women of our rights to our own bodies and reproductive decisions. And the goal of abortion opponents is clear: they do not want women to be equal players in society.”
Women, according to more than three-quarters of anti-abortion survey respondents, “are too easily offended”. More than 70% of “pro-lifers” in the survey agree that women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist – women, in other words, are a touch hysterical and perhaps not to be trusted. While 82% of pro-choice respondents said that the country would be better off with more women in political office, just 34% of abortion opponents agreed.
It’s not about “life”. It’s about the fact that abortion is inexorably tied to women’s freedoms and female power. If women can’t decide for themselves when and whether to have children – if having sex can mean being forced into motherhood – women also won’t be able to decide our own futures. We know that being forced to continue a pregnancy makes women more likely to remain in poverty. It makes women more likely to remain in abusive relationships. It hurts their children. It makes women more likely to die.
This is a warped line of thinking that completely ignores the heart of the pro-life position: Every human life is valuable. That includes women and men, children and the elderly, born and unborn.
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Filipovic’s broad statements are based on questionable pro-abortion research as well. Studies suggesting that abortions are safer than childbirth for women have been debunked repeatedly. What’s more, they fail to take into account that abortions are never safe for the second human being involved, the unborn baby.
And her claim that ending abortion hurts children is ridiculous on its face. Abortions kill children. And research suggests that abortions can negatively affect surviving siblings by increasing the risk of future premature births. Psychological research indicates siblings of abortion victims may suffer from a form of survivor’s guilt as well.
At another point, Filipovic claimed that pro-lifers “don’t seem to care much about ‘life’ once a baby is born,” another unoriginal argument. Her “proof” was that many support cuts to government programs. But this, again, is not true. Many pro-life advocates do support government aid programs for families in need, and many others support community-based charities, seeing them as more effective and efficient in helping women and children’s specific needs in their local communities.
Pro-life advocates give millions of volunteer hours, money and other resources to help pregnant and parenting families through pregnancy resource centers across the country. Many of these centers provide free pregnancy tests, diapers, cribs, counseling and much more. Some provide temporary shelter, scholarships, assistance in signing up for financial aid, career advice and other services as well. Pro-lifers do care about helping women and babies, both before and after birth.
Filipovic tried to discredit pro-lifers’ true motives by claiming that being pro-life is something relatively new for evangelical Christians and Catholics in history. She tried to trace their goals back through history to racism and misogyny.
This is pure projection, because it is from these discriminatory viewpoints that the pro-abortion movement grew. Margaret Sanger was a well-known eugenicist when she founded Planned Parenthood more than 100 years ago. And the early feminists were not at all in favor of abortion; they vehemently opposed it, seeing it as a further means of oppression toward women and children. But in the 1960s, abortion activists “hijacked” the feminist movement, seeing it an opportunity to gain traction for their pro-abortion goals.
Being pro-life means being pro-woman as much as it means being pro-child. The pro-life movement values every human life, and it supports women and empowers them. It tells them that they are strong enough and capable enough, and they do not have to kill their own child to be free.